Category Archives: Monthly Mixes

Sh-Boom + European DJ Tour!

Hello friends:  I’ve made numerous attempts to write this entry, wanting to address the many tragedies we’ve been witnessing over the past few weeks. But everywhere I turn there is outrage, fury, blaming, shaming, and endless opinions on how we can fix the world. History shows us that change is incredibly slow, that the pendulum swings between tolerance and open societies to intolerance and closed societies, that the ugliest traits of humankind are as much a part of us as our most wonderful traits. But there is always light and beauty and wonder and kindness, even in the darkest of days. This concept is so beautifully illustrated in Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search For Meaning,” where he writes about his ability to find joy and love in the bleakest of circumstances—as an inmate at the Auschwitz concentration camp. “Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”  —Viktor Frankl I hope that in these dark times we can each find the light and love and make them bigger.  WFMU’s SOPHISTICATED BOOM … Read more

Summer Is In Season!

As a fanzine-writing teen, I remember the joy of meeting up with fellow ‘zinesters around the country and comparing notes on music, printing nightmares, and penpals. We would refer to each other by our ‘zine names—I was Sheila Plume. There was Mike Caught In Flux, Lisa Die Right Now, Jen Tease, Gail Chickfactor. It’s been years since I’ve felt that cozy community spirit that was so abundant in the 90s ‘zine world, but a few weekends ago, when I hosted a crew of record collectors + DJs at my monthly party, Sh-Boom, I looked around Our Wicked Lady and realized that that community spirit was very much alive and well in that room—packed with WFMU DJs and friends who, like me, spend much of their lives championing old records. It was such a treat to get to spend proper time with my fellow DJ co-hosts Jason + Stacy Thornton (a dream record-collecting couple who met over one of the sweetest soul records ever made—Doris & Kelley’s “You Don’t Have To Worry.” Too much!!!), Rob Macy (who runs the hugely popular Save Your Soul party in Baltimore), Ty Jesso (host of the … Read more

WFMU’s Sophisticated Boom Boom #16: I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair

On this week’s episode of “Sophisticated Boom Boom with Sheila B.” on WFMU, I played records by Goldie & the Gingerbreads, HALCALI, Las Mosquitas, Martha & the Vandellas’ storming “Easily Persuaded,” Dusty Springfield’s version of the oft-covered “Easy Evil,” a dark and moody new track by Scottish group the School, Ride’s “Drive Blind,” a brilliant but very rough and unfinished demo by Brenda Holloway (how did Motown NOT release this?!!!), Hedy Sontag’s “He Never Came Back” (for Gaylord Fields), and the #1 bubblegum song of the 21st century according to me! Listen here: WFMU’s Kurt Gottschalk will be filling in for my show this week, as I’ll be in New Orleans for the Ponderosa Stomp, watching Irma Thomas, Brenda Holloway, Betty Harris, Barbara Lynn, PF Sloan, Miriam, and more. Hurray! “Sophisticated Boom Boom” will be back on October 9, 2015. xo-Sheila

A birthday Sh-Boom!

The new WFMU schedule has just been announced and “Sophisticated Boom Boom” has been given a verrrrrry sweet spot on Fridays from 3pm – 6pm EST on the radio at 91.1 FM and on the web at I know I’ve been really slack at keeping Cha Cha Charming updated, but that’s because I’m having far too good a time playing records and chatting it up on the radio. I’m finding that the solo stay-at-home life of a freelance writer just isn’t as satisfying anymore, and thus radio landing on my lap has quadrupled my joy of life. It’s also busting my ass to keep up with new music + old records, as I play around 50+ records per show. So if any of you have any new or up-and-coming female artists or bands, please send them my way! Also, Dust & Grooves: Adventures In Record Collecting has was re-released by Ten Speed Press on September 15, 2015, and Eilon + I just gave talks at the Strand Bookstore and the Apple store here in NYC, and will be heading to LA next week for more book launches + parties. We’ve … Read more

Mama Spank Mix

Mama Spank is the result of some serious eBay action, digging time, and flipping over records that have been in my collection for ages. Case in point—Irma Thomas’ “Hittin’ On Nothing” (flip of “Ruler of My Heart”) and Dorothy Berry’s “Ain’t That Love” (I’d only ever played “You Better Watch Out”). Of course now I feel the urge to go through every single record to make sure I haven’t neglected more dazzling flips. I remember having this chat with fellow collectors Matt Weingarden and Rebecca Birmingham. They’d asked if I ever checked out the flip of Little Eva’s “The Locomotion.” Nope. They suggested I do, pronto. And so thanks to them I discovered what might be Little Eva’s coolest record—”He Is the Boy,” writtten by Big Dee Irwin and Gerry Goffin. “The Locomotion” may have been one of the first girl-pop 45s I ever purchased, and I never bothered to flip it over. Folks, let this be a stern warning! ; ) I DJ’d recently with Phast Phreddie (New York City’s bossest DJ!) and whilst tag-teaming we got chatting about sharing our favorite vinyl finds and the silliness of covering … Read more

Sukiyaki + Cocktail Mix

As New York prepared itself for the historic winter storm that never was, I drank cups of tea at the Crosby Street Hotel with a few folks from Sony Music Japan who were in town with a man named Rikimaru Nakamura. His father, Hachidai Nakamura was a hugely prolific and well-respected songwriter (and jazz pianist) who wrote Kyu Sakamoto’s 1963 worldwide smash, “Sukiyaki” (originally titled “Ue Wo Muite Arukou”). To this day, “Sukiyaki” remains the only Japanese language song ever to top the Billboard charts. It has sold over 13 million copies. Rikimaru gave me a box-set of his father’s work called Hachidai Song Collection, released by EMI in 1999, which features cuts by some of my favorite girl-pop stars like Mieko Hirota, the Peanuts, and Sachiko Nishida. He explained that he’s currently working on a play about his father’s career and “Sukiyaki” and how it became to be such a legendary record. He said he had so many stories about that one song that it was difficult to know which ones to focus on for the play. Unfortunately my very poor Japanese (I dedicated my life to learning the … Read more

On the Radio + 20 Girl-pop Essentials

British vinyl champions and record label, The Vinyl Factory asked me to compile a list of my top 20 sixties girl-pop 45s and to put together an accompanying mix. I steered clear of the girl-pop mega-hits and focused instead on some of my lesser-known favorites (many of which I’ve gushed about on Cha Cha Charming). You can read the list and listen to the mix here. You can also listen to the mix via the Mixcloud widget below. I’ve gotten a whole lotta love for Nippon Girls 2 so thanks to everyone for the rave reviews + support. Check out this Nippon Girls 2 display at Disk Union Records in Tokyo! Some guy on Twitter suggested I come to Tokyo and throw a “Nippon Girls” party. Yes please! I’d kill to be back on Japanese soil! Tonight I’ll be spinning an hour-long ’60s girl-pop set with Eilon Paz of Dust & Grooves on the WNYU/ 89.1 FM. You can listen live from their website. xo-Sheila Essential ’60s Girl Pop Mix by Thevinylfactory on Mixcloud

Big Bush Sound Mix

British session gals Sue & Sunny give us the wonderfully titled “Big Bush Sound,” which is sadly not an ode to pubic hair but a rather grand jingle for the Bush brand—maker of stereo equipment. There are quite a few Brit Girls on this mix—Kim D., Jacki Bond, and Janice Nichols, whose “I’ll Give It Five” boasts some truly ridiculous lyrics (“I love Elvis and his pelvis”). I thought I’d pretty much completed my Brit girl 45 collection, but Sandra Bryant’s storming “Out To Get You” proved me very wrong. I picked up Erma Franklin’s “I Don’t Want No Mama’s Boy” at the Allentown Record Fair, which I hear is pretty tough to track down so I thank my trusty dealer Barry Soltz for the very reasonable price tag. I had to resist including some of my new Japanese ’60s favorites, as they will be making up the second volume of Nippon Girls, out on Ace Records in September. But I think you’ll agree that Chie Sawa’s early ’70s “Janisu No You Ni” and Kiyoko Ito’s cover of “O Ganso” are pretty fab. I had planned on dishing out a … Read more

She Sold Me Magic mix

Sampsa! Vesa! I finally scored a copy of “I Changed My Mind Jack!” I vividly recall my brilliant-record-radar going haywire the night I first heard this record deep down in a Helsinki basement. After a minor freakout over the song being SO FRIGGIN’ AMAZING, I was informed by DJs Vesa Yli-Pelkonen and Sampsa Vilhunen that this Jo Ann Campbell single was exceedingly rare (Swedish-only jukebox 45). Devastating news. Since that evening, I’ve made every attempt to track it down and after keeping a close eye on eBay for three loooooong years, I can finally rest easy knowing that this 45 is now part of my collection. Exhale….! So, “I Changed My Mind Jack” opens this month’s mix of female freakbeat, soul, R&B, pop, folk-rock, and a little bit of swing. All female-fronted, of course.  You’ll notice the addition of a MixCloud link at the bottom, which allows me to play DJ in my own home. Also, for those who can’t work my music-player on your phones, iPads, etc., you can listen anywhere, anytime via MixCloud. I highly recommend checking out Sampsa + Vesa’s DJ mixes on MixCloud as well. They are two of the finest … Read more

Happy Holiday Mix

I was driving ’round Brooklyn buying xmas presents on Saturday, listening to the WFMU DJs play their favorite holiday songs. That’s where I first heard Lord Nelson’s “Party for Santa Claus,” which (after “Santa Baby”) is one of the most brilliant, festive holiday songs I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. You’ll find that along with some holiday classics, a very ’60s Japanese pop take on traditional xmas tunes, the Lollipops’ most adorable xmas re-vamp of the Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman,” and one song that has absolutely nothing to do with the holidays, but which I think always sounds best during this time of the year (The Cardigans’ “Celia Inside”).  Have a wonderful holiday everyone!  With love,xo-Sheila 1. Detroit Junior: Christmas Day2. The Lollipops: Mr. Santa3. The Orchids: Christmas Is The Time To Be With Your Baby4. Kayoko Moriyama: Tonde Kita Santa Claus5. Eartha Kitt & Henri René: Santa Baby6. Amos Milburn: Christmas Comes But Once a Year7. Françoise Hardy: Song Of Winter8. The Cardigans: Celia Inside9. Nino Tempo & April Stevens: The Coldest Night Of The Year10. Lord Nelson: Party For Santa Claus11. Jean & The Statesides: Cold Cold Winter12. Bill Pursell: Our Winter Love13. Robin Ward: Winter’s Here14. Julie London: Warm … Read more